How Does a Miniature Therapy Horse Work?

In this episode of Working, we learn about the daily labors of an adorable mare named Magic.

Magic at Breyerfest with Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide (Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington)
Magic (right) at Breyerfest at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington with Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Debbie Garcia-Bengochea.

In past seasons of Working, we’ve covered a wide array of professions—from drag queens to neurosurgeons—but all our guests have had one fundamental thing in common: They were human. This season, we’re shaking things up and sitting down to chat with (or more accurately, about) animals with jobs.

For our first episode, we talked with Debbie Garcia-Bengochea of Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses about the working lives of (you guessed it!) miniature therapy horses. She led us through the working lives of these diminutive creatures—many of which weigh in at around 100 pounds. In particular, we talked about a horse named Magic, who apparently has an eye for people in need, and is always ready to comfort the sick and calm the anxious. We also heard about what the horses in Magic’s herd do on their time off, since they’re only on the job a few days a week, and learned a little about the Maremma dogs who look after them.

Then, in a Slate Plus extra, Garcia-Bengochea explained how Magic became a Breyer Portrait Horse. If you’re a member, enjoy bonus segments and interview transcripts from Working, plus other great podcast exclusives. Start your two-week free trial at

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Podcast production by Benjamin Frisch.